Why Circulation Matters When You Have Diabetes
Your circulatory system—which includes your heart, blood vessels, and blood cells—is an extremely important component of your physical wellbeing. Most people know that blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to all your body’s cells. But it’s also equally important for healing wounds, fighting off infectious diseases, carrying away waste products, maintaining your body temperature, and a lot more.
Maintaining healthy circulation is important for everybody, but it becomes especially critical to those who have diabetes. Blood vessels that reach out to the extreme points of your body—like your feet and toes—are already smaller and narrower than the large arteries and veins closer to the heart. That means that, even when healthy, the circulation in those areas isn’t as strong.
Diabetes further complicates the process. Diabetes, especially when not regulated, is characterized by higher levels of sugar (or glucose) in the bloodstream, which causes inflammation and leaves deposits on the walls of small blood vessels, narrowing them even further and in some cases drastically reducing circulatory strength.
With less blood flowing to your feet, even small injuries like cuts and blisters can become severe health risks. Your body may simply be unable to adequately clot a wound, or to fight off a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection before it has a chance to spread. In the end, you may even require a risky surgery or amputation.
Narrowing blood vessels isn’t the only problem associated with high blood sugar, either. Another is nerve damage, and once again the feet and legs are usually the first (and worst) hit. So at the same time that your bloodstream is having trouble providing oxygen, nutrients, clotting agents, and immune system support to your feet, your nerves are too damaged to tell your brain that you have a problem.
If you have diabetes, promoting healthy circulation should be a major life goal. The good news is that, if you are disciplined and manage your condition well, you can continue to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle and prevent major injuries and problems. Keeping a close eye on blood sugar levels, developing healthy habits around diet and exercise, and taking a few minutes to check your feet every day do not have to be difficult or time-consuming changes to your lifestyle, and can make a huge difference for your future.
To schedule a diabetic check-up with Dr. Thapar, or address an existing wound or diabetic-related foot issue, we urge you to give us a call today. Dial (908) 222-8980 for our South Plainfield and Edison, NJ office, or (732) 356-3668 for Warren, NJ.